San Marcos, TX (A-State) – Taylor Schneider's game-winning goal in the 85th minute propelled the Arkansas State women's soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Texas State Sunday afternoon at the Bobcat Soccer Complex.
The Red Wolves (5-6-3, 3-4-1 Sun Belt) capped a critical weekend in the Sun Belt Conference by earning six points with a pair of road victories to help vault into the middle of the league standings. The squad began the week fighting to make its way into the top-8 teams in the league in order to make the league's postseason tournament, but now find themselves in good position with two matches, each at home, left on its schedule.
"The kids have been working hard from the start and when the showed up in the summer to work with our strength and conditioning coach Cody Stout and they were all in then and now they are seeing some validation for all their hard work," A-State head coach Brian Dooley said. "Now, we just have to make sure that we aren't stratified with where we are and continue to push to go even further."
Schneider, who also scored the only goal in Friday night's win over Louisiana-Lafayette, connected on a header into the top-right corner of the net as time ticked away in regulation. The header was setup by a corner kick off the foot of Bailey Reed, who placed the right amount of arc on the ball to allow Schneider to battle her way through a crowd in front of the head and time her leap to get enough power on the ball to send by the goalkeeper.
The Ballwin, Mo., native leads Arkansas State with four goals on the year, and has scored each of the last goals by the Red Wolves. She also now has moved into a tie for seventh-place on the season for most goals scored by a single player in the conference.
"I had told Bailey to try to curl into the back post because we had the wind in our favor and I thought we might could sneak one by them that way," Dooley said. "The kick didn't get the bend it needed, but then I just saw Schneider rise up and put it in."
A-State took a conservative approach to the game after playing Friday at Lafayette, La., on Friday and then traveling to Texas State after the Bobcats did not play on Friday. The strategy worked as the Red Wolves waited for their opportunity and limited the number dangerous chances by the Bobcats to earn the win.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Ponder made five saves on the day and helped fight a late surge by Texas State which included three corner kicks in the final four minutes of play. The St. Louis, Mo., ranked second in the NCAA in total saves coming into the weekend and upped her total stops to 102 on the year, which puts her in third place all-time for most saves in a single in A-State history. The record of 108 was set by Susan Brown in the 2009 season.
She also recorded her third clean sheet of the season, which is tied for second most in a single campaign in school history.
Arkansas State took an offensive minded approach to the match early on and held a 3-1 shot advantage midway through the first half. Texas State turned up the pressure offensively, near the end of the half and continued that into the second half.